Thursday, June 10, 2010

S is for . . .

S is for summer. . . swimming . . . and strawberries. Mmmm. . . . strawberries. I can feel my mouth just watering at the sound of fresh picked strawberries (good thing there sitting in my fridge!). Today is the last day of school for our local schools, and even though my little one is too young for school, it still feels like summer has officially begun!

Today has been a really fun day. This morning I got up and watched my nephew celebrate the end of kindergarten. He even had a part to memorize and say in front of all those proud parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles. Then, I scurried to Costco to get some much need food items and headed over to my MOPS mentor mom's house for a swim gathering. I have been really blessed this year with an awesome group of mom's and it was so much fun getting together to swim and celebrate summer! And then tonight, I think we are going to go enjoy BBQ'd pizzas and more swimming with our good friends.

So, back to strawberries. . . I recently made this dessert for our small group Bible Study. I was in the mood to make something sweet and yummy, but the no oven dilemma kind of prevented me from doing any baking. Thankfully, I found this recipe last year and it requires absolutely NO baking! Awesome! So, I decided to make it again. Plus, I never blogged about it. . . so you get to see it today. . . in all it's glorious splendor!

Here's the scoop:
:: the ingredients are quite basic - store bought frozen pound cake (mine was Sara Lee), cream cheese, instant pudding, strawberries, and cool whip. . . . super easy!
:: You don't even have to have a nice bowl or trifle. Last year, I made it for a couple in our Sunday School class that had just had a new baby. . . i just made a smaller batch and put it in a Gladware container.
:: This makes awesome smaller portions. You can put it your favorite dessert bowls. I love using my stemware for parfaits! Plus, if you are new to my blog, I have a horrible obsession with bowls. . . just as my husband! In fact, I am looking forward to going to Crate and Barrel in 3 weeks. . . I know just what I want!
:: I also think that the pudding base, would taste good using the recipe from my ├ęclair torte, if you are looking for something a little lighter.
:: The dessert directions say refrigerate for 4 hours prior to serving. . . totally not necessary!

Layered Strawberry Cheesecake Bowl

3 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 pkg. (8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Neufchatel Cheese, softened
1-1/2 cups cold milk
1 pkg. (3.4 oz.) JELL-O Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP LITE Whipped Topping, divided
2 cups frozen pound cake cubes (1 inch)
1 square BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate (I just melted some chocolate bark I had on hand)

:: Optional - 1 chocolate covered strawberry. . . you can do this by dipping a dry strawberry into your melted chocolate before you drizzle it onto your dessert. Let it set on a piece of wax paper.
(I emphasized dry because if you try to dip a slightly wet strawberry, the chocolate will just come right off and looks really gross.)

:: Another hint, if you melt your chocolate and want to drizzle a very easy way. . . just put a sandwich bag into a small glass and with its edges folded over the top of the glass. Pour your melted chocolate into the bag and snip the corner and drizzle onto your dessert!

Combine berries and sugar. Refrigerate until ready to use. Beat Neufchatel (I used regular cream cheese) in large bowl with mixer until creamy. Gradually beat in milk. Add dry pudding mix; mix well. Blend in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP; spoon half into 2-1/2-qt. bowl.
Top with cake, berries and remaining Neufchatel mixture. Refrigerate 4 hours.
MELT chocolate; drizzle over trifle. Top with remaining COOL WHIP.

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